On June 8, 2018, Jamal Joseph visited The Frederick Douglass Academy. Jamal Joseph, a poet/writer/black panther/and professor, joined the Black Panther Party when he was a freshman in high school. Mr. Joseph was named one of the top twelve African American New York educators in the DAILY News Black History Month issue. He has been featured in the New York Times, ABC’s Nightline, ESPN’s “One Night in Vegas” BET’s “American Gangster”, VH1’s “Lords of the Revolution” and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.
FDA 9th grade students read a coming of age novel entitled, “Baby Panther” by Mr. Joseph. His novel speaks of his personal setbacks and academic success. Students this year have truly connected to Joseph’s experience because they are growing up in a time of police brutality, gun violence, and a disconnect between school and success. Before reading the text, students watched the PBS’s documentary, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” and studied the Ten Point Program. After reading Panther Baby, students enacted a mock trial that had young Jamal as the defendant. Jamal Joseph’s visit empowered our students to be young agents of change.